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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

All hail the queen: Madonna incarnation is in vogue

Madonna, once the sexually liberated, erotically charged, persona-changing pop icon of the '80s and '90s, is embarking on her newest reinvention. Apparently, it is that of a prudish schoolmarm. The perpetrator of 1992's book "Sex" and a handful of explicit videos now ghost-writes children's books (which must look a tad funny alongside "Sex" on a bookshelf), boasts that she bans her own offspring from watching television (probably so her kids won't come across her "Justify My Love" and "Vogue" videos), and embraces her newly-acquired Kabbalah religion.

In the midst of this newfound born-again attitude (or calculated image revamping), it's almost surprising that Madonna didn't record a gospel album. Instead, "Confessions on a Dance Floor" goes back to her club kid roots.

This isn't to say that anything on the CD comes close to the dance classics she created on her 1983 self-titled debut, but at least she realized after 2003's disappointing release, "American Life" (who can forget that pathetic rap she attempted on the title track?) that she should get back under the disco ball and leave the hip hop to Missy Elliot.

Actually, "Confessions on a Dance Floor" is not a bad effort. Clearly she has come to terms with the fact that dance tunes are what people actually want to hear from her. The blistering dance track "Hung Up," the first single, has carved another notch in Madonna's belt of hits.

Other standout songs, "Jump," "Get Together," and "Let It Will Be," employ the synthesized dance beats of "Hung Up" and will make her die-hard dance floor disciples extremely happy. "Let It Will Be" is especially appealing; more of a raw-produced dance track, it is akin to the '80s remixed Madonna hits which were made even more magical by legendary DJ/mixer John "Jellybean" Benitez.

"Push Me" also contains a certain energy, but its repetition makes the listener wonder if we truly need another song praising some unknown mentor who apparently "pushed" or "pushes" or "inspired" Madonna (or us) to be better. One would have thought that songs with this kind of trite sentiment died after "Wind Beneath My Wings," but alas it has not.

The CD's biggest letdown is the saccharine "Forbidden Love." The slowest track on "Confessions," the song may have been Madonna's attempt to decelerate a bit, but it just stalls with its sappy lyrics and lukewarm delivery.

One must wonder: after the hoopla over "Hung Up" passes, how much interest will there be for the rest of the CD's myriad dance tracks? It is unlikely that many present day club DJs, currently overloaded with requests for Kanye West and 50 Cent, will be excited about spinning a new Madonna dance product.

Although Madonna has apparently resigned herself to the fact that her days of shocking the world are over, her fans still seem interested in the singer's newer and cleaner incarnation. The things she used to do to astonish - which seemed outrageous 10 or 15 years ago - would now be as uninteresting as any calculated Paris Hilton PR stunt. But, for now anyway, the material girl-turned-mom (twice) has toned it down. If the CD's Number 1 debut in 28 countries is any indicator, the world has seemingly embraced the more grown-up Madonna.

Then again, maybe her actions are more subliminal than they appear. There once was a time when all would have scoffed at the thought of a "settled" Madonna. In a way, maybe she's trying to shock us by doing something we never expected of her: maturing.

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